Gartner Gives Novell, Red Hat Their Grades in Linux
February 20, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The analysts at Gartner have taken a hard look at the Red Hat and Novell and given them report cards on how well or poorly they have done in various areas as they seek to make Linux a more mature commercial option for the data center. There apparently was not a curve.
In the cross-platform resource management area, which Novell makes a lot of noise about because of its ZENworks products and which Red Hat largely partners to deliver, Novell surprising pulled a B+ compared to Red Hat’s C. Novell’s ZENworks product line predates its entry into the Linux market through its acquisition of SUSE more than two years ago, and is really a vestigial organ from its battles with Microsoft and its Windows platform. If Novell couldn’t displace Windows, then it could manage it and thereby outmaneuver Microsoft in the data center. With ZENworks now able to manage Linux, this is another strong point for Novell, but one that is perhaps not a big revenue generator. Red Hat, by contrast, wants to manage Red Hat’s own Linux instances on desktops, workstations, and servers as transparently and easily as possible through its Red Hat Network.
On high availability and clustering, Gartner also gave Novell a higher grade, with a B, compared to Red Hat’s C. Gartner says that Novell’s partnerships with Oracle, the Veritas unit of Symantec, and PolyServe as well as its own NetWare clustering technologies and the SUSE Heartbeat clustering option for Linux all make Novell’s implementation of Linux a viable clustering and high availability platform. Red Hat, of course, has its own cluster services and global file system, and has put these into open source projects and made them into commercial products tied specifically to Red Hat Linux. Red Hat is presumably getting poor grades for not partnering more strongly. Gartner also gave Novell a B+ compared to Red Hat’s C+ for its enterprise software stack. Both companies rated a B on their security architecture–with Novell using its acquired AppArmor security middleware to secure Linux and Red Hat relying on SE-Linux extensions to do the same–and both companies also got Bs for their enterprise service and support. Red Hat rated a B+ on the strength of its ISV and reseller channel, compared to Novell’s B. And both vendors only rated a C+ on the breadth of their enterprise vision and leadership. And finally, Red Hat got a B+ for its financial performance, which seemed a bit harsh considering the growth Red Hat experienced in 2005; Novell, which has had restructurings and layoffs, got a C+ for its financial performance.
There were no As in the Gartner report. Apparently Red Hat and Novell didn’t bring apples to class.